"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep". ~ Shakespeare, The Tempest
Last night, I watched the PBS program NOVA wherein they looked at dreams (click HERE) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/what-are-dreams.html
It is an interesting program with alternatives to the usual Freudian view of what dreams are. What it did for me was prompt memories of some unusual dreams that I have had around and after my cancer diagnosis. The interesting thing about all of these dreams is that they offered a source of comfort in regards to death. I’ll narrate them in reverse chronological order. It is important to note that my diagnosis was in October of 2010.
January 2010 – I was walking around this huge, old house – a house that I have ‘visited’ many times in dreams throughout my life. At one point, I was in a smaller laundry-type room with silver, round heat ducts around the ceiling. I noticed a thick layer of dust and dust bunnies on top of the ducts, so I decided to clean them. I stepped up on top of the washing machine and as I was reaching up to dust, my cat Ernie (dead in real life) jumped out into my arms. He was very disheveled and covered with dirt and dust. He clung to me like he hadn’t seen me in a long time. I petted him and tried to soothe and calm him. I gave him and bath and fed him. I then turned him over to ‘someone’ to care for him until I returned. There were also several black people in the house. It occurred to me that the house belonged to them although no one seemed to mind that I was there. One of the people there was Gary Coleman (dead in real life). ---I woke up feeling like I had found my lost cat and would be returning to wherever he was at some point, but until then, he was taken care of.
November 2010 – My husband and I were at our local watering hole. We were standing talking and there were a couple of other sort of faceless people around who we were talking to. Then what I took to blonde-headed woman with shoulder-length hair came up and was looking at me like she knew me. She looked very excited to see me. Someone introduced her and as I looked at her, I thought that she looked more like a man, although the gender was definitely ambiguous. She/he came closer to me and took my hand. Once in that grasp, I felt very happy and very loved. She/he smiled and said something to the effect of, “Okay, it’s time to go,” and led me out of the bar. As I was leaving, I gave thought to Keith and what would happen with him, but I felt comforted that he would be okay. As soon as we opened the door and hit the sidewalk, everything got very bright so that I could see nothing but the brightness.
March 2010 – I was walking on lawn approaching a white farmhouse. It was very tidy and bright with black shutters. The lawn was a very bright, vivid green and the sky was blue. There were a number of very old (tall) trees around and it was very quiet. As I walked closer to the house, it seemed to get larger and I sensed that there were many people living there. As I continued to get closer, other similar houses appeared in the distance and they all seemed to get larger. It occurred to me that this was where all of my ancestors lived and that I was here now, too. I began to feel a sort of release or letting go accompanied with a relaxing sort of feeling – sort of like the feeling that you get when you relax in a hot tub when you are bone-weary. As I started to let go, it suddenly occurred to me that I must be dying. I took a sudden sharp breath and woke up.
One could argue that the first two dreams that I have listed are in response to my diagnosis – my brain attempting to reconcile and come to terms with the knowledge of my diagnosis. The one from March is a bit trickier. I’d love to believe that these dreams were given to me to offer comfort instead of something that my own brain came up with so that I don’t go totally psycho. I like the thought of a something or someone out there who, even if they don’t do anything about the bad things that happen in the world, will offer bits of comfort to make the bad things in life easier to tolerate. Sort of an impotent view of a god-like entity, I know. But I think when you’ve come to terms with something unpleasant in your life that you know will continue, and you’ve decided (or have no choice but) to tough it out, a little comfort from a benevolent entity is a pretty attractive thing. In some people’s opinion, that’s how the whole concept of God/gods was created in the first place. But if it is merely my own brain, does that mean that I am essentially my own God? That’s a disturbing concept.
I would totally suck at being God. Too much pressure.